Sony VAIO Pro 13: Performance

In most areas, the performance of the VAIO Pro 13 is more than sufficient. Loading up Windows and common applications, surfing the web, and even video encoding (especially with an application that supports Quick Sync) are all plenty fast. There are faster laptops out there, certainly, but they don't have anywhere near this level of portability. Here's our standard selection of performance metrics, and you can see that the VAIO Pro 13 is basically in line with other Ultrabooks. Note that most of the other Ultrabooks have used Core i7 ULV processors, so here the VAIO Pro 13 is at a disadvantage. The cores specs for the tested laptops are listed in the table below, and additional benchmark results are available in Mobile Bench.

Overview of Laptops in Charts
Laptop CPU GPU Storage RAM LCD Battery
Acer R7-571-6858 Intel Core i5-3317U HD 4000 500GB HDD + 24GB SSD 1x4GB + 1x2GB 15.6” 1080p Glossy AHVA Touchscreen 4-cell 54Wh
Acer S7-391-9886 Intel Core i7-3517U HD 4000 2x128GB RAID 0 SSDs 2x2GB 13.3” 1080p Glossy AHVA Touchscreen 4-cell 35Wh
Acer V7-482PG-9884 Intel Core i7-4500U GT750M DDR3 / HD 4400 1TB HDD + 24GB SSD 1x4GB + 1x8GB 14” 1080p Glossy AHVA Touchscreen 4-cell 54Wh
AMD Kabini Prototype AMD A4-5000 HD 8330 256GB SSD 1x4GB 14” 1080p Matte IPS 6-cell 45Wh
Apple MacBook Air 13 (2013) Intel Core i5-4250U HD 5000 128GB PCIe SSD 2x2GB 13.3” 1440x900 Glossy TN 4-cell 54Wh
Dell XPS 12 Intel Core i7-3517U HD 4000 256GB SSD 2x4GB 13.3” 1080p Glossy IPS Touchscreen 4-cell 47Wh
Dell XPS 13 Intel Core i5-3337U HD 4000 256GB SSD 2x4GB 13.3” 1080p Glossy IPS 6-cell 47Wh
Sony VAIO Pro 13 Intel Core i5-4200U HD 4400 128GB PCIe SSD 2x2GB 13.3” 1080p Glossy IPS Touchscreen 3-cell 37Wh

PCMark 7 (2013)

Cinebench R11.5 - Single-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench R11.5 - Multi-Threaded Benchmark

x264 HD 5.x

x264 HD 5.x

Futuremark 3DMark (2013)

Futuremark 3DMark (2013)

Futuremark 3DMark (2013)

In our general performance graphs, here we get another results showing that Haswell isn't really any faster than Ivy Bridge in most tests (unless it has a GT3/GT3e iGPU, or in specific tests that leverage the new instructions). Move to the 3DMark results and the VAIO Pro 13 doesn't really look so hot. It's now clearly slower than the Core i7 Ivy Bridge Ultrabooks, which isn't something I'd expect from 20 EUs. Either Intel actually has slower EUs in Haswell than in Ivy Bridge, or Sony is curbing performance of the iGPU to keep within their desired thermal range. Our gaming results continue this trend:

Bioshock Infinite - Value

Company of Heroes 2 - Value

Elder Scrolls: Skyrim - Value

GRID 2 - Value

Metro: Last Light - Value

Sleeping Dogs - Value

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm - Value

Tomb Raider - Value

Other than in StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm and Tomb Raider, the VAIO Pro 13 ends up being slower than every other Intel Ultrabook that we've tested. The Acer V7 isn't technically an Ultrabook, though it's close enough in many respects, but we can see just how much even a moderate dGPU adds in terms of performance. We also have some results for Crystalwell (i7-4750HQ) in Mobile Bench that we're not including here, and GT3e is much faster as well (though the Clevo W740SU doesn't do all that well in the battery life department). Perhaps GT3 would help the VAIO Pro 13, but several games seemed to have issues maintaining higher iGPU clocks – Metro for instance showed cyclic higher/lower performance during the benchmark runs. It's mostly a moot point, though, as outside of light gaming the HD 4400 simply isn't fast enough to handle a lot of games.

Sony VAIO Pro 13 Subjective Evaluation Sony VAIO Pro 13: Excellent Battery Life
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  • eamon - Saturday, October 19, 2013 - link

    You mention in the article that avoiding the touch-screen saves a few bucks which may be an interesting option therefore. There are a few other advantages to that choice: it also saves 130g on an already very light laptop and gives you a screen with less glare. (Subjectively, it feels about as heavy as an iPad with the magnetic cover, which is quite something - although at 931g it's still slightly heavier). Finally, I've seen several glass touchscreens in ipads+MBA's crack, and given the flex in the casing I'd be even more worried here. However, if you don't have the touchscreen then there's nothing to crack.

    In other words, if you want a road warrior (which this laptop indeed is quite good for), I'd definitely recommend avoiding the touch screen. The laptop's quite a bit better without it.
  • aliase - Saturday, October 19, 2013 - link

    a little expensive for 128 gb ssd version.
  • wdfmph - Sunday, October 20, 2013 - link

    It is a somewhat good review. But why is it 3 month late? I had this computer in June. Yes, I got it soon after its launch. I was excited but soon let down. I hate the fan/electricity noise, tricky touchpad, and the wifi connect issues. I am a consumer, not a repairer. I hate been told again and again about updating Wifi firmware when it doesn't really help. The computer comes with tons of useless/trial software. Why does PC companies want to deteriorate their image like this?
    If you have a budget like $1300, go with macbook pro. Somebody told me. I hated it. I tried and now I know why.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    It's three months late because Sony didn't want to ship us one earlier. Sorry!
  • sudz - Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - link

    We've got this laptop for a sales staff in my company - I've had it 3 weeks now and I haven't deployed it due to constant wireless issues. With no Wired option, its a dealbreaker - It WILL NOT connect after coming out of hibernate. I have to disable and enable to wireless card. Not acceptable for an end user to have to do. Odd thing is, it says its connected to the SSID, shows great signal strength, has an IP address... but I can't ping anything but loopback. 5 hours on the phone with sony invested. About to return the bloody thing.
  • Geronemo3 - Thursday, October 24, 2013 - link

    I would like to see this against Yoga 2 pro which was recently selling for $1299 for haswell i7, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD. Plus it also has a 2nd slot under keyboard for extra msata. For $1599 yoga 2 pro comes with 512. I am seriously considering it Also because it has that tablet mode. Also it would be nice if all ultra books come with microsd slots like the surface 2. But I know that's wishful thinking.
  • omaudio - Friday, October 25, 2013 - link

    I have been looking for a good 11.6" or 12-13" w/ backlit keyboard and decent battery life for awhile now. still using an old Atom netbook w 2GB RAM and an M4 SSD. These are pricier that what I wanted to spend but I am ready to finally get something soon. Are the RAM or hard drive user upgradeable? I see the HD is PCIe, is that mSATA? Is the RAM soldered to the MB?
  • strafejumper - Monday, October 28, 2013 - link

    I got the Sony Vaio Pro 13 but ended up returning it (-%15)
    Mine ended up having a wifi issue of low wifi speed
    When there is a direct line of sight between router and laptop I don't think there is any issue
    Where I use the laptop i'm on a different floor than the router
    My smartphone, old laptop & desktop all get good speeds browsing and in internet speed tests
    But the Sony Vaio pro Never could get decent speed - Icouldn't watch youtube videos (buffering) and sometimes couldn't even load gmail properly

    I took the Sony on a trip and had the same problem where ever I went - ipads, my old laptop, etc all worked normally while theSony Vaio Pro 13 was slow slow I gave up trying to browse websites or check email on it

    I tried fixing it for a month because overall its a pretty slick laptop but in the end returning it was my best option

    I'm not the only one who had this issue with the laptop - 117 pages on the Sony community forums about this issue:

    Other thoughts about the laptop:
    When the fan kicks in it is a little too loud - louder than you would expect - not a deal breaker but not a high class touch
    The multitouch trackpad was not as responsive as I would've liked - I tried the apple laptops in an apple store and I could scroll webpages up and down with a lot of speed, responsiveness and no glitches - with the Sony Vaio Pro I had to coax the trackpad to work by tapping a few times and then starting slowly to get things rolling and then ramp up to my speed and then it would start hiccuping and I would switch to using the touchscreen.
    I think you will find you need to use both the touchscreen and the touchpad because one alone is not very reliable/responsive as it should be
    Screen was beautiful - as good if not better than any i've seen (glossy not so great for getting work done outdoors but beautiful in the right conditions)
    The Macbook air has a TN panel and the TN panel is no comparison to this IPS panel
    (i don't see much difference between retina and non-retina but TN vs IPS makes a big difference for me)
  • alphadean - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    Have owned several Sony Z ultraportable computers with great success. Primarily used for SolidWorks 3D modeling and assemblies. I want to upgrade and have considered the Pro Red 13 ($2600) for the configuration and addition support. Any opinions? What other high end 13" small lap tops should I consider?
  • aritai - Saturday, November 2, 2013 - link

    Just noticed the perf and power comparisons are to an Acer S7 391 (the year-old model), not this summer's S7 392 (the Haswell system, shipping a roughly the same time as the Haswell MBA). Would be great to see the Haswell-to-Haswell comparisons across these vendors - I suspect the 2013 MBA has met its match in every dimension ('cept brand).

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